By M.H. Cavanaugh
Christian Action League
October 8, 2015
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Pro-Life advocates are adamant that they don’t want North Carolina Rep. Renee Ellmers (R) seated on a committee to investigate Planned Parenthood.
According to the Washington Examiner, she’s seeking a spot on a special new committee created Wednesday [October 2], by House Republicans to investigate the organization “in the wake of undercover videos highlighting its involvement in supplying aborted fetal material for medical research.”
Back in January, Ellmers, who vehemently professes to be pro-life, essentially derailed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act – a measure Concerned Women for America called “one of the most crucial pieces of pro-life legislation since the passage of the Partial Birth Abortion Ban.”
The legislation, which was supposed to be voted on at the same time as the National March for Life was taking place, would have banned abortions after 20 weeks – a period when it’s believed the fetus can actually feel pain in the womb.
At the time, Ellmers said she had been approached by a number of women Republican lawmakers in the House who expressed concerns over a rape and incest reporting requirement in the bill. The provision required that women who were raped should first report the rape to law enforcement before obtaining an exemption from the ban and getting an abortion.
Accordingly, Rep. Ellmers withdrew her name as a cosponsor of the legislation, while also encouraging other lawmakers to remove their names and pushing to delay a vote on the measure as written.
She also expressed she was concerned about the way the bill in its form at that time might have turned away younger voters.
Her actions enraged pro-lifers. Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council reported hundreds of students were in Washington for the March for Life and packed the hallways in protest outside of Ellmers’s office, while other groups didn’t mince words about what they believed was nothing less than betrayal.
Dr. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, said that Ellmers’ expressed apprehensions didn’t make any sense and were inconsistent. She had voted for the measure with the very same language back in 2013.
Tami Fitzgerald of The North Carolina Values Coalition was present for the march in Washington and like many others on that day also quickly made her way to Elmers’ office for an accounting of her undermining of the legislation. Fitzgerald said Ellmers concerns were completely unfounded and described them as a “distinction without a difference.”
Fitzgerald told the Christian Action League in January, “Renee Ellmers can’t have it both ways. Either she is for a bill that would save 18,000 babies a year at a point when they can feel pain, or she is not… We are talking about late-term abortions being banned, which 60% of Americans support. Unfortunately, she kept this vote from happening just so she could appear to be a champion for women’s rights. What about the babies that will lose their lives as a result.”
Such hot sentiment against Ellmers persists.
According to the Washington Examiner, Blair Ellis, a spokesman for Ellmers said, “As a sitting member of the Energy and Commerce Committee with a background in nursing, she would be an excellent candidate for this select committee.”
But the Examiner also reports that Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life in America is still incensed over Ellmers’ previous torpedoing of the Pain Capable Bill. Hawkins refers to Ellmers actions then as a “slap in the face” of pro-lifers, offered with a “bogus excuse.”
Hawkins says the House leadership should oppose her seat on the Planned Parenthood panel. She told the Examiner, “Now that the North Carolina congresswoman has thoroughly discredited herself with pro-lifers, she is angling for a position on a committee that will investigate Planned Parenthood. What a farce.”
“Dr. Creech recently said, “I have only met Rep. Ellmers once, but on that occasion I was impressed. I found her to be gracious, pleasant, articulate, and very smart. But I must be frank in saying that if she is to survive politically she’s got some serious fence-mending to do with not only the pro-life community, but conservative evangelicals. There have been a number of other issues of concern.”
“Perhaps her seeking this appointment is part of her planned approach toward redemption with them. I don’t know. But one of the hardest things in the world is to rebuild trust with a group of people who feel that you let them down. If it’s warranted, and I believe it is in this case, the best place to start is with a genuine apology that says, ‘I blew it and I intend to do better,’” said Dr. Creech. “But even then, it may be too late.”
Ellmers is facing what appears could be a tough primary for her. Jim Duncan, a former county Republican chairman in her district is seeking to unseat her. Duncan has been critical of Ellmers and her wrecking of the Pain Capable Bill. He too is opposed to her being appointed to the committee to investigate Planned Parenthood.
Kay Daly, President for the Coalition of a Fair Judiciary, is also challenging Ellmers. Daly has received the ringing endorsement of prominent conservative evangelical, Dr. James Dobson.